In a city that's struggled for peace and solid infrastructure, its 1.5 million residents can finally draw cash.
Nearly two and a half decades since Somalia descended into a protracted civil war, the first ATM opened in the country's capital of Mogadishu this morning. Previously, travelers to Mogadishu were forced to bring large sums of cash with them. Visitors could also go through informal remittance brokers to tap into the Hawala system popular in Muslim countries. Now things might get a little easier for everyone.
Salaam Somali Bank opened the cash machine in one of Mogadishu's upscale (and heavily secured) hotels. The BBC reports that one U.K. visitor called the ATM "a big step forward" for a country that was without a functioning government from 1991 until 2012. The Somali shilling, however, is worthless in Mogadishu's markets, which operate almost exclusively on U.S. dollars. The ATM will therefore only distribute American currency, possibly offering other international currencies in the future.